Read the related articles
Read more articles...

DSD vs DSF vs DFF Files Audio | Read What Difference >

DSD vs DSF vs DFF files

You met different types of DSD music files. But what file type is the best for you? Read below about the difference between DSD, DSF, DFF files in audio.


Author: Yuri Korzunov,
Audiophile Inventory's developer with 25+ year experience in digital signal processing,
author of the articles that make audio easy for beginners




Watch and share: DSD vs FLAC comparison
dsd vs flac video



Watch and share: What is DSD audio? Video explanation
what is dsd


Back to top

DSD, DSF, DFF. Sound quality

DSD (Direct Stream Digital) is a one-bit audio format for high-resolution music. The format is based on sigma-delta modulation. Read details about DSD >

Music in DSD format may be stored in DSF and DFF files (.dsf and .dff file extensions respectively). Both DFF and DSF are DSD files.

I.e. DSD files is a common term, that includes both DFF and DSF audio files.


DSD versus DSF versus DFF files
dsd versus dsf versus dff files


However, besides these kinds of files, SACD ISO (.iso extension, 1-bit audio ISO) is DSD file too. SACD ISO contains text metadata, that may be extracted during SACD ISO to DSD conversion.




DSF and DFF files are able to contains binary identical audio content.

In .DFF audio content may be losslessly compressed. But it does not impact sound quality.

Sound quality for both file formats is defined by:

  • recording, mixing, postproduction/mastering quality;
  • conversion quality (read below);
  • playback quality (read below).

Read more about DSD and its sound quality here >



Back to top


Sometimes one-bit DSD is considered a more qualitative alternative for multi-bit PCM. However, it is not a simple matter, that is defined by implementation. Read more:



Back to top

DSD converters

All DSD files (DSF, DFF, ISO) may be converted to another DSD format without losses. Such conversion should not alter sample rate and apply any processing ("bit-perfect").


DSD converters


DSD resampling and other processing (even elementary gain changing) lose quality, comparable with PCM resampling. However, it is not a big matter for pro-audio processing.


Read more:


Back to top

DSD audio players

DSD playback may be implemented two ways:

  1. Convert to PCM and playback at PCM DAC (digital-to-analog converter),
  2. Playback directly with DSD DAC.

In general, the second option is preferable. But real result depends on hardware and software implementation.



Check FREE DSD player list >

Check FREE DSD audio downloads >

Read more about the players here > and here >

Read more about DSD and PCM DAC comparison >



Back to top

DSF vs DFF for players

Playback sound quality is the same for both DFF and DSF.


DSF and DFF on DSD file player
DSF and DFF at DSD player audio files


DFF file doesn't support music metadata (song name, album, performer, artwork) standard way. However, the metadata may be stored in ID3 format in DFF file's chunk (internal data block). For access to the metadata, DFF file player must be able to recognize ID3-chunks.

DSF specification supports the metadata. DSF audio player may have issues with artwork format, size and resolution.

To playback multichannel music at a stereo DSD player, the music sould be downmixed into 2.0 "on fly". Sound quality of downmixing is implementation matter. To save hard disk space, you can pre-downmix music.

Read more about DSD players >


Back to top

DSF versus DFF compression method

Current DSF specification notes raw uncompressed packing only [1].

DFF may be stored as uncompressed as compressed by DST (Direct Stream Transfer) method [2].



Back to top

DSF versus DFF editing

From sound quality point of view, for editing DSD files, file format does not matter.

Read more about DSD editing >




Back to top

Frequently Asked Question

What is DSF audio? What is a DSF?

DSF is an audio file that contains DSD audio stream. Read more...


Is DSD the best audio format?

No. DSD has advantages and disadvantages comparing PCM - its competitor.



Is DSF and DSD the same?

No. DSD is an audio format. DSF files contain audio data in DSD format.


Is DSD better than FLAC?

DSD and FLAC are both audio formats that are designed for audiophile applications. Both ones provide high sound quality in different ways.



How do I listen to DSF files?

You can listen to DSF files with audio player software...


What can open DSF files?

DSF files can be opened with:


How do I convert DSF to MP3?

Read how you can convert DSF to mp3...


How do I convert DSF to FLAC?

You can convert DSF files to FLAC according to this manual...



Can DSD be streamed?

Yes. DSD may be streamed.




Read more


Read more about DSD


Additional links


Audio Basis - articles about audio


Back to top